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Australia Steam Train

1997 Proof Five Dollar reverse 1997 Proof Five Dollar obverse

1997 Proof Five Dollar

Reverse Designer:Wojciech Pietranik Obverse Designer:Raphael Maklouf Size:39mm Weight:35.79g Edge:Reeded Composition:92.5% Silver
7.5% Copper


Sales History


This commemorative coin celebrates the role played by the steam train as a form of transportation that opened up possibilities and opportunities for the continued development of Australia as a nation. It is a five dollar proof coin struck into sterling silver by the Royal Australian Mint. The steam train coin is one from a set of five that makes up the Masterpieces in Silver collection named 'Opening of the Continent.' (Coin Web, 2013) Each coin represents a different form of transportation creating a network that connected the wide-spread colonies from across the land, enabling the progression of industry, agriculture, trade and general cultural development. Other transportation networks that are remembered and celebrated within this collection are the Bullock Team, Camel Train, Paddle-steamer, and Steam Traction Engine.

The obverse of each of the coins was designed by Raphael Maklouf and features his traditional portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This is complimented by the legend surrounding the portrait, which reads ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 1997.The reverse of this particular coin from the collection bears the image of steam train expelling great deals of steam. In the background we can see a station building with a sign that says HILLTOP.The collection had a limited mintage of 10,000, was packaged in a cushioned black box and came with a '1997 Masterpieces in Silver Certificate of Authenticity.'

The history of steam power goes well back but the use of steam to power a locomotive or train was developed in the early 19th century in Great Britain. (Wikipedia, 2013) The introduction of the steam train into Australia was a sign of real progress for the development of the continent as a nation. The railway meant that for the first time the colonies were truly connected and the network of transport naturally made it a great deal easier to get to and from the most important and major hubs. Before the first steam railway in 1854, people had to rely on horse drawn transport to get from one place to another. The success of the first railway meant that progress was rapid and by 1901 over 20,000km of track had been laid connecting most of the states. In the construction of the initial track, the majority of it was imported but it wasn't long before they began to use locally made equipment. (Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2013) The use of steam trains in locomotives had stopped completely by the 1970's as they had been completely replaced by diesel-electronic models. However for the steam train experience there are still a number of tourist routes in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

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